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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth De Cicco

NYBG Refined Graphite Rendering, Week 2

In the second week of Refined Graphite Rendering, we learned some methods of using graphite dust. Each class is 5 hours long, so we had some time at the end of the day to work on our assignments. I did Quercus marilandica collected from the Pygmy Pines. The leaves were fresh and bright green, so it would have also made a nice watercolor.


Quercus marilandica, or Blackjack oak, is fire adapted. These shrubby oak trees have a very thick taproot that can survive centuries of fire. Although the tree I collected this twig from might have come from 200-year-old root stock, it was less than 5 ft tall. Because of the bright, open landscape, the largest leaves on the twig were about 2.5" long. The thick, shiny, coriaceous leaves were great for rendering in graphite.


This drawing went pretty quickly. My Vellum Bristol paper still has not arrived, so I used Bristol plate which is much smoother. Blending was very easy. I started with a light coat of 4H graphite and I think shading ranged from 2H-2B. Traditional rendering would have required several layers of 4H and I likely would have ended with HB only in the darkest shadows. There is a smudge on my paper that I didn't notice, but it's too late in the day to re-photograph before class.


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